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How to "give out" things in Mexico

3kids4me

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I hope this doesn't sound really stupid...but what is the appropriate way to give out things to people down in Cancun? What kinds of things would be appreciated/needed? What about things for kids, and if so, where would we go to give these things to the kids?

Thanks!!

Sharon
 

ripshion

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3kids4me said:
I hope this doesn't sound really stupid...but what is the appropriate way to give out things to people down in Cancun? What kinds of things would be appreciated/needed? What about things for kids, and if so, where would we go to give these things to the kids?

Thanks!!

Sharon

Nice gesture, but I wouldn't do it! I think the majority of residents in Cancun are not in the poverty level that you are thinking of. The people that live there are all working class citizens. I just think your donated goods would be more useful in a 3rd world country ie. Dominican Rep, China, Africa etc. When I'm in Cancun I feel like I'm still in the good ol' US of A, and not in a different country.
 

KarenK

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All you have to do is go a few blocks past the restaurant area dowtown or into the outskirts of Cancun to find poverty. A friend who lives there was accepting donations from Mexico City just after the hurricane. I think the Royals would accept clothing and monetary donations for their employees' families.
One of the first times I was there, I asked the maid where she would go locally to get a good fish dinner, and her reply was Oh, Senora, I have never been to a restaurant." So I don't they are so middle class.
 

GrayFal

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3kids4me said:
I hope this doesn't sound really stupid...but what is the appropriate way to give out things to people down in Cancun? What kinds of things would be appreciated/needed? What about things for kids, and if so, where would we go to give these things to the kids?

Thanks!!

Sharon
Check with Carol C - she has brought relief items with her....
 

Barbeque

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Not in Cancun but in Puerto Vallarta and Cabo we have taken hot wheels for the boys and little trinkets for girls. We give these to the chiclet kids and do not give them money as it is adults that put them out to work in the evening to beg from the tourists. We feel for the kids but their employers or parents are using them.
 

T_R_Oglodyte

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Sharon -

You might check with Christel House, www.christelhouse.org, Christel DeHaan's charity for impoverished Mexican children. Christel was the founder of RCI, and through her involvement in timesharing, she became aware of the conditions of many Mexican children.

After she sold RCI, Christel used some of the proceeds to start Christel House.

Another option is to work through the staff at the resort where you will be staying.
 

Monica

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That comment is so far off!

ripshion said:
Nice gesture, but I wouldn't do it! I think the majority of residents in Cancun are not in the poverty level that you are thinking of. The people that live there are all working class citizens. I just think your donated goods would be more useful in a 3rd world country ie. Dominican Rep, China, Africa etc. When I'm in Cancun I feel like I'm still in the good ol' US of A, and not in a different country.

They always need school supplies. Many children go to a "school" that is a piece of tin over 4 poles. Even pencils are needed. Chalk. Crayons. Then the pencil sharpener is an extravagence! Small things like those mentioned abouve. They always need notebooks but paper would probably be hard for you to transport as you are traveling w/ 3 kids. What a nice gesture, Sharon!

And "working class citizens" make about $5 USD per day. Grinding poverty is everywhere in Mexico.

If you don't leave the tourist zone, you don't see it. You don't have to travel too far in both Cancun and Cozumel to see it, though.
 

3kids4me

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Thank you all.

We will plan on packing pretty notebooks and pencils, and will check with the resort staff when we are there as to how to share these.

Perhaps if we take a day tour with Cancun Valet, etc...we could ask the driver to take us to a place where we can hand some things out? Then we would have a native with us...is this a good idea or not a good idea?

Thanks again,

Sharon
 

Cat

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Sharon, you might find plenty of people right on the resort who would be very grateful for whatever you bring. In our experience, the cleaning women and the gardeners are bottom of the food chain when it comes to income. Their work week is 6 days, but they make very little.

You've had some good suggestions for basic items. If you want to give some more "luxurious" items, they LOVE T-shirts with popular US sport teams, and any kind of sneakers/running shoes. Doesn't absolutely have to be new, but in good shape.
 

BethH

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Akumal Library

3kids4me said:
I hope this doesn't sound really stupid...but what is the appropriate way to give out things to people down in Cancun? What kinds of things would be appreciated/needed? What about things for kids, and if so, where would we go to give these things to the kids?

Thanks!!

Sharon

If you have a rental car and find yourself heading a little south, you may want to consider a trip to the library in Akumal. Akumal is a beautiful place with great restaurants, beaches and snorkeling (it's close to Yal Ku). The library in Akumal serves as a literacy center for local children. They are always in need of things and the hurricane left them with almost nothing.

http://hekabbe.blogspot.com/

http://hekabbe.com

http://mytravelboard4.com/playa/posts/86759.html

My family is already collecting items to bring with us in June. We are filling up a small suitcase with items and after we donate them we'll have room to bring back our souvenirs. :)

Beth
 
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jperkins

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Two years ago my wife and I went to a local Sam's club in Mexico with another couple, We spent about $400.00 total covering the gambit from food, essentials, hygene, clothing and toys for both boys and girls. We then took a taxi to a local orphanage and left it all there for them. They were bery appreciative. Made it easier as we did not have to haul everything from Minnesota.
 

IreneLF

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Sharon,
You've gotten some good suggestions with Christel and the orphanages.
On the three trips we made to adopt our kids (Chile and Colombia) we brought large boxes of stuff to give to the orphanage, new infant and toddler items as well as things gently used and donated by friends from the adoption support group. Believe me, it is always appreciated.
 

nana7

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Sharon, I am at the Royal Mayan now and was just reading with one of the bar tenders. He found a book about dolphins. It was about a 3 grade level. I asked some of them what they would like. They all agree::: books from 1-5 grade levels, clothes of any kind, any electronic games (like older hand held ones your kids may have had. AND ALMOST ANYTHING YOU WOULD BRING.
THEY ARE IN NEED...so just pack a suitcase and it will be appreciated.
If you have any other questions e mail me.... nanajan8@verizon.net I will ask what else they would like to have.
 

ripshion

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Monica said:
And "working class citizens" make about $5 USD per day. Grinding poverty is everywhere in Mexico.

If you don't leave the tourist zone, you don't see it. You don't have to travel too far in both Cancun and Cozumel to see it, though.

I know they do make more then $5 a day! You want to see poverty take a trip to rural China, Thailand, India, you will see poverty like no other. The people of Mexico are far more well off then the people of these other countries.
 

Fern Modena

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Here's the current minimum wage table for Mexican Workers:
http://www.mexicanlaws.com/minimum_wages_2006.htm

Its in Pesos, of course. And there are three different zones. Since the dollar is worth about 10.5 pesos right now, that makes the minimum wage in Cancún about $4.35 a day. Many people in the tourist areas do not work for minimum wages, but its safe to say many of the maids do.

Fern
 

nana7

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I agree that there is poverty all over the world in some places worse for others. Just look at New Orleans in the US.

BUT...if you are coming to Mexico and want to bring things!!!!! They are in need of many things and since the hurricane they need anything. Including money. The ones that work for tips had their wages cut because of lack of tourist to give to them. The books will help the workers that are trying to better themselves and learn better english. After taking a ride and seeing the hotels and resturants that were damaged months ago you will see that this will not recover in just a year or so. They are saying it will be 10 years before Cancun recovers!

I always bring things for our maid, she works very hard and for little pay. We tip but this year I am thinking of a Wal Mart card extra for her to go and get whatever she needs. But most of the mexicans say """ my family is fine and it will be ok""" They are satisfied with much less than the americans are.
I know Fern goes to Mexico a lot and probably knows much more than I do about the people. So she can add to this easily...also Ellis since he is from Mexico.
Just bring and give what you want...someone will use it.
 

Monica

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Fern, Thank you

Fern, thanks for the link. People find it so hard to believe the minimum wage in Mexico. They think because these individuals work in these magnificent resorts that they are making lots of money. And that is so far from the reality. Think of all those that don't even make the $5/day! Sorry, ripshion, but Fern's link shows the reality of Mexico. I know poverty exists in India, China, etc., but it is just as bad in Mexico.

The people at hotels in the service positions do make $5/day and live on tips. Go out of the tourist zone and into the little villages. Children starving, no running water, barely any shelter, no jobs, no education, little food. I have a friend who watched her son starve to death. She couldn't feed him and couldn't find help as all of her neighbors were in the same situation!

Some of the Mexican's that work the front desks and have contact with the tourists have an education and make about $100 per week. Six-day work week, too. There are now pharmacies in Acapulco that have a doctor on-site that will see you for small things for $2 because they can't find work. Can you imagine being an MD and seeing people for $2! Most of these are women doctors where the macho mentality of Mexico has prevented them from getting into an established practice.

I help an orphanage in Acapulco that has 60 kids, all left at the Marsh Hogar because their parents could no longer feed them. There is no gov't help, either.

The bottom line is they do need help.

Just my 2 cents.
 

quiltergal

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I spent a summer working in a Mexican orphanage in Tecate when I was still in highschool (many, many a long year ago). I was dumbfounded to discover that the vast majority of children at that orpanage weren't orphans at all. Their parents just couldn't afford to feed them so they would leave them at the orphanage for six months at a time while they tried to find work. If they managed to scrape together a few extra pesos they would come back and get the kids, keep them for awhile, and when they ran out of money would bring them back to the orphanage.
 

Fern Modena

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I've pretty much stayed out of this conversation because it is about Cancún, and I haven't been there in years. So realize anything I say is general, and more about my experience in Mazatlán than Cancún.

Cancún's tourist areas are more "Americanized," so many people don't realize the poverty that lies below the surface. Your maid really needs the tips people leave. The timeshare touts and the front desk people earn more, because they speak English. The more English they speak, the more they make (although I've never known a front desk person in Mexico to earn anything near $100/week!).

School supplies are a good gift, as are new and gently worn clothes for young children. If the resort can't point you to an orphanage to donate this to, a local church could, I am sure.

As for the Walmart card. Its a generous gesture, one which would be appreciated here I am sure. But in Mexico, mainly middle class people shop at Walmart. Walmart in Mexico is about half a grocery store, half other stuff. I would doubt that maids shop there. I've been to Walmart and Sams in Mazatlán, and that's what I've observed. Think about the prices at the Walmart at home, and the ones in Mexico are about the same...good prices by our standards, yes. but probably the things would be a splurge for the maids, and not something she'd spend money on.

We think that its ackward to give people money, or thoughtless sometimes, but in this case money will go a lot further than gift cards, so its the kindest thing to do.

I speak some Spanish, so if I am checking out early I ask my maid if she works that day (so if she doesn't I make arrangements to give her the final tip early). I also belive in tipping early and often, so I give her a tip the first time I see her, and then a bit more midweek, too. I way overtip, but that's ok, I blow more money than this on inconsequential things at home.

Fern
 
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nana7

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Thanks Fern...You are right....money is always good...I did not think about where they shop, just didn't want her to have to share it withthe others maids.
 

jperkins

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Fern,

I too go to Mazatlan. In fact we are going there for 3 weeks on Feb 27. Could I ask you what amount you mean by "way over tip". I usually leave $3 or 4 per day every day. Also I don't leave a large amount on the last day sitting on the counter. I noticed the housekeeping manager checking rooms for tips on check out day and i think she may keep a part of them.
I am also the one that went to SAM's club and purchased supplies for a local orphanage.
 

Fern Modena

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I generally give the maid $5. the first time I meet her, unless it is one who I know from previous visits, in which case I give more. I then tip again at or near the end of the week. I tip about five dollars a day, mostly in pesos if I have them (its easier for them if I do). I always, always give the money directly to the maid, I never leave it out for them, for exactly the reason mentioned.

Fern
 

ripshion

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Monica said:
Fern, thanks for the link. People find it so hard to believe the minimum wage in Mexico. They think because these individuals work in these magnificent resorts that they are making lots of money. And that is so far from the reality. Think of all those that don't even make the $5/day! Sorry, ripshion, but Fern's link shows the reality of Mexico. I know poverty exists in India, China, etc., but it is just as bad in Mexico.

The people at hotels in the service positions do make $5/day and live on tips. Go out of the tourist zone and into the little villages. Children starving, no running water, barely any shelter, no jobs, no education, little food. I have a friend who watched her son starve to death. She couldn't feed him and couldn't find help as all of her neighbors were in the same situation!

Some of the Mexican's that work the front desks and have contact with the tourists have an education and make about $100 per week. Six-day work week, too. There are now pharmacies in Acapulco that have a doctor on-site that will see you for small things for $2 because they can't find work. Can you imagine being an MD and seeing people for $2! Most of these are women doctors where the macho mentality of Mexico has prevented them from getting into an established practice.

I help an orphanage in Acapulco that has 60 kids, all left at the Marsh Hogar because their parents could no longer feed them. There is no gov't help, either.

The bottom line is they do need help.

Just my 2 cents.

The OP is talking about giving things out in Cancun, hence my reply! The Mexican citizens that work there probably make more money then some US citizens working in the US. Most of the maids you are talking about get tipped very well and earn a good living. I don't think you should be concerned about them.
 

Fern Modena

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Maybe its your personal comfort zone which causes you to see things differently than I do. I'm not calling names or meaning to demean you, but you *are* misinformed. Sure the tourist areas of Cancún is more "Americanized" than most other parts of Mexico. But have you ever looked beyond that? Try looking at your hotel's maid's shoes? I'll bet she's wearing rubber shoes. Not sandals, but rubber shoes like we'd buy at K-mart.

Yes, the people who sell timeshare and OPC make good money. Most of them have some sort of tie to the US...many have lived in the US at one time or another, and thus speak English well enough for such a job. Some are even US citizens. But these are not the people we are talking about. We're talking about maids and housemen who generally speak either no English or very limited English.

Yes, we have "working poor" in the US, but generally speaking our "working poor" have a much higher standard of living than the "working poor" of Mexico. I feel Sharon's question was both appropriate and compassionate.

Fern

ripshion said:
The OP is talking about giving things out in Cancun, hence my reply! The Mexican citizens that work there probably make more money then some US citizens working in the US. Most of the maids you are talking about get tipped very well and earn a good living. I don't think you should be concerned about them.
 
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